Teen Dating Violence-Approaching Epidemic Levels

The U.S. Justice Department Office on Violence Against Women has statistics that show that one in five high school girls report being abused by a boyfriend and that physical aggression occurs in one in three teen dating relationships. Date rape accounts for almost 70% of all sexual assaults reported by adolescents and college age women. The statistics are so alarming that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classified intimate partner violence as epidemic.

Relationship abuse is behavior that someone uses against a partner. It doesn’t have to be physical, it can be verbal or isolation from friends or controlling behavior. Unfortunately, so little of it is ever even reported because outside pressure encourages teens to “be cool.” Another factor is that teens are afraid of ridicule when talking with their peers about physical abuse.

The biggest problem as we see it is that teens have no frame of reference of what is and what is not a healthy relationship. Teen dating violence is further complicated by the world that they see around them with domestic violence so prevalent, they can reasonably assume that that’s the way things are- that women are abused.

Here are some warning signs that teens are in an abusive relationship:

  1. They are spending less time with their usual friends.
  2. They have fewer friends on Facebook.
  3. Changes in activities.
  4. Missing school or failing grades.

And where does this kind of abusive behavior in teen dating come from? The most common belief is that it is a learned trait that young men get from watching their fathers. Is there a correlation between teen dating violence and domestic violence? Many people believe so. Wherever the behavior comes from, whether it’s generational or not, the cycle needs to be broken.

Some school systems are considering incorporating classes on healthy relationships to be taught to all students, male and female, so they can begin to see and understand what is right and what isn’t right in a relationship.

Parents should learn to see the signs of an abusive relationship and be prepared to step in. And young women should be prepared to defend themselves against an assault, yes an assault, because that’s what it is. The best way that young women can do that is with a self-defense product that is nonlethal such as a pepper spray or stun gun. A pepper spray can immobilize an assailant for as long as 45 minutes without causing any long-lasting impact. She may lose a boyfriend by defending herself in this manner, but if he is assaulting her, is he worth keeping?

This instructional DVD that runs for one hour on Women’s Self-Defense techniques teaches predator defense and rape prevention techniques designed specifically to defeat a determined sexual predator.

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